Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hepatitis C patients likely to falter in adherence to treatment regimen over time

30.09.2011
Findings point to need for interventions to help patients take drugs properly

Patients being treated for chronic hepatitis C become less likely to take their medications over time, according to a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Since the study also showed better response to the drugs when they're taken correctly, the researchers say the findings should prompt clinicians to assess patients for barriers to medication adherence throughout their treatment, and develop strategies to help them stay on track. The study is published online this month in Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Our findings are particularly timely since many chronic hepatitis C patients are now being prescribed direct-acting antiviral drugs, which have a complex dosing regimen that may be even harder for patients to maintain than the two-drug standard therapy," said lead author Vincent Lo Re, MD, MSCE, an assistant professor of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology. "These data show us that we need to develop and test interventions to help patients be more successful at taking their medicine and have the best chance at being cured."

Literacy issues, financial hurdles, and socioeconomic problems such as unstable living situations can all hamper patients' abilities to properly maintain their drug regimen. The authors suggest that refilling patients' pill boxes for them, creating easy-to-follow dosing and refill schedules, and helping them set alarms to remind them to take their medicine may all help improve adherence.

The Penn researchers studied 5,706 chronic hepatitis C patients who had been prescribed the standard treatment for the virus -- pegylated interferon (given as a single weekly shot) and ribavirin (a twice-daily oral medicine) -- using pharmacy refill data and test results for virologic response during treatment. They found that patients who refilled their prescriptions on time had a higher likelihood of being cured of the infection. However, over the course of patients' treatment, adherence waned, and more often for ribavarin. That pattern, Lo Re notes, is similar to that among patients taking drugs for other chronic conditions, during which patients often develop so-called "pill fatigue."

The newer, more powerful direct-acting antiviral drugs, which must be taken every 8 hours, will add to the complexity, and cost, of chronic hepatitis C treatment. In addition, if the newer direct-acting antiviral drugs aren't taken properly, the hepatitis C virus may become resistant to treatment, compromising the chance of cure. Hepatitis C is a communicable disease spread via blood, from needle-sharing during IV drug use, tattooing or piercing, or even from more casual contact like sharing razors and toothbrushes. Worldwide, approximately 180 million people have the disease, about 4 million of them in the United States.

Monitoring for and treating drug-related side effects may also be a key factor in boosting adherence, Lo Re says. The study results showed that patients who received medication for thyroid dysfunction, anemia, or low white blood cell counts – common side effects associated with hepatitis C drugs – were more likely to remain adherent to their antiviral therapy. Although those drugs added more steps into their self care, Lo Re said the resulting relief for symptoms, including depression, fatigue and irritability, and more frequent visits to health care providers typically required with administration of these drugs, may play a role in patients' ability to maintain the regimen overall.

"We know that a major barrier to adherence is side effects of these drugs. People don't feel good when they're on them," he said. "If we can identify those problems and treat them when they occur, patients may be more motivated and feel well enough to continue with their prescribed regimen."

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4 billion enterprise.

Penn's Perelman School of Medicine is currently ranked #2 in U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools and among the top 10 schools for primary care. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $507.6 million awarded in the 2010 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top 10 hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; and Pennsylvania Hospital – the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Penn Medicine also includes additional patient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2010, Penn Medicine provided $788 million to benefit our community.

Holly Auer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upenn.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells

20.02.2018 | Life Sciences

MRI technique differentiates benign breast lesions from malignancies

20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering

Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms

20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>